Sunday, 27 November 2016

Hawkwind On The Telly - Quark Strangeness & Charm (Marc)

Hawkwind's second UK television performance, following on from 1972's Top of the Pops promotional film for 'Silver Machine' was on the ITV series Marc in 1977, promoting 'Quark Strangeness & Charm'. Here's what Sonic Assassins says about it...

Hawkwind made only their second UK television appearance in September (recorded late August), performing a version of their latest single, ‘Quark Strangeness & Charm’, on the Marc Bolan-fronted pop show Marc. Although it was, primarily a children’s series – going out at 5:15 on ITV – Marc was one of the first networked TV shows to acknowledge the existence of punk rock, essentially the reason this abbreviated series is still remembered today. There weren’t many other places on national television in the summer of 1977 where one could see bands like The Jam, The Boomtown Rats and Generation X, all of whom featured during the programme’s six-week run. This targeted the very record buyer that Hawkwind were failing to attract, but that they still held relevance for. Bolan shared the same management as Hawkwind at the time, so the opportunity to give the band some much needed exposure was seized upon. Is it surprising, then, that in Adrian Shaw’s opinion, “Brock tried to sabotage the whole thing,” or is it another defeat from the jaws of victory that at times seems to have been a specialism of Hawkwind? Dave Brock failed to arrive at the TV studio where the performance was being filmed leaving the band to appear without him.

For many years after, Dave passed his absence off as being an aversion to miming. However, interviewed in 1998 he became more expansive on the subject, recalling an occasion in the early 1970s when he and some friends gate-crashed one of Bolan’s parties. “We heard Marc Bolan clanking around on his guitar… I had this guitar and played some blues and of course Bolan didn’t like that, ’cos we were good. We were asked to leave.” It seems that Brock had a long memory. “That’s why I didn’t turn up on his TV show in Manchester. I carried resentment for many a year. I didn’t fancy travelling all that way just to mime, anyway.”

Shaw notes that the band decided to go ahead, re-recording the backing track at Granada’s studios in the morning and miming to it in the afternoon. “As Brock wasn’t there I played guitar as well as bass on the recording.” Truth be told, it’s probably nothing to do with Dave Brock’s failure to appear that the track was re-recorded for miming purposes – musician’s union agreements during this period made it practically compulsory for this to happen since it was perceived to guarantee income to session musicians and was certainly common practice on programmes such as Top of the Pops at that time, making it entirely possible that the same ruling was in force for the Marc programmes.  Bolan introduced the band as the people “who should have written Star Wars, but didn’t,” and described them as “my best friends.” Shaw again: “The ‘best friends’ remark was for public consumption only; we didn’t know him very well.”

Sonic Assassins 2nd Edition Extract

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